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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I'm Trying the 7 Minute Workout

I downloaded the 7 Minute Workout app months ago. I never even opened it. I'm pretty sure it cost me like $3. I figured if I paid for it I would be more likely to use it. Apparently that was not the case.

I tried doing Yoga a couple times during January and while it was fulfilling and lovely the videos were almost an hour long. I'm not willing to get up extra early in the morning just to watch a yoga video. Not when the options of location are in my living room where my roommates can see me, or in my bedroom with my husband still trying to sleep.

I do stretches at work when I'm bored and I was content with that for now. I visited a bunch of friends and family this last weekend and it reminded me that I really do want to get in better shape. So I decided I had to get back on the fitness wagon. I thought about starting up the yoga again but then decided to try out that crazy 7 Minute Workout app that I had downloaded.

This is what happened.

I looked through the exercises. They all seemed fairly straightforward. I didn't really look at the science behind the exercises or really anything about how this worked I just hit start and decided to see what would happen.

Jumping Jacks: I love jumping jacks. This is an easy enough place to start. Oh... I should have worn a bra for this. But okay, I'm breathing fine. I'm okay.

Wall Sit: Okay, I'm a little out of breath but wall sits aren't that hard. I've been trying them a little at work. I made it through about 20 seconds.

Push Ups: I tried doing regular and managed to do one, so I settled for doing girl pushups. Now I'm really breathing hard.

Abdominal Crunches: I was the master of these in middle school. I had abs like steel. Now I can barely get my shoulder blades off the floor.

Step Up Onto a Chair: I have short ceilings in my bedroom, luckily I had just enough space to manage this. Also an easy exercise.

Squats: I actually like this one. I think I might do this at work more often.

Tricep Dips on a Chair: I have no idea how to do this exercise. I feel like I'm moving the wrong parts of my body. I think I'm supposed to be using my arms but I feel like I'm just hip thrusting into the air.

Plank: I'm good at planking. Just keep breathing and you're fine.

High Knees Running in Place: I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die.

Lunge: Ahhh, my body hurts so bad. Why am I doing this to myself? Every time I lunge I worry I won't be able to straighten back up again. My whole body is pain.

Push Up With Rotation: This is really hard when you're doing girl push ups. Again, I have no idea what I'm doing.

Side Plank: I don't know how to do this either, but it would probably be easier if I were wearing shoes and not on carpet.

I did not realize a 7 Minute Workout would drain me like this one did. I feel good, I feel accomplished, I feel like I deserve the shower I'm going to take.

So we'll see how long I can keep this one going.

Also there are a ton of free places you can do this workout online and a bunch of other apps that aren't as pretty as this one but are much cheaper.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

List Yourself: List All of the Reading Material in Your Bathroom

I actually have a huge stack of magazines in my upstairs bathroom. I wound up with this subscription to multiple magazines a few years ago. I canceled the card because I was pretty sure it was a scam but they just kept sending me magazines. The magazines managed to follow me to my new address and they are just for weird stuff. So I just have piles and piles of magazines. I have the internet so I don't read magazines. So into the bathroom they go for the off chance I forget my phone or we have guests over. Us Weekly and Bloomberg Businessweek are the only two I actually care about. 
Magazines and hair products.
Before the magazines came into my life I would read the back of hair products, the back of the tampon box. I would just read everything in the bathroom no matter how many times I had read it before. It was just a habit. I guess that's why my mother put up educational posters in the bathroom at her house. That way you can learn about the circulatory system while you do your business. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

How Are You Getting Organized This Year?

I spent a few hours today working through my bookshelves. Josh and I are married now so I finally feel fully comfortable combining our movie and book collections. I'm very protective of my belongings. We've been buying each other movies and books as presents and with combined money so it's been getting harder to tell what belongs to who anyway.

We have three bookshelves in our bedroom. One under our TV which is now designated for video game systems. There is the bookshelf next to Josh's desk which mostly holds his books. Then there is the tall bookshelf by the window. It has a lot of my stuff on it. But now holds all of our movies in one place.

And yes there is still a bunch of stuff sitting in a pile in the middle of the floor until I figure out what to do with it. But most of it is probably garbage anyway.

Also Josh does own 8 godzilla figurines.
Computer Bookshelf Before

Computer Bookshelf After

Window Bookshelf Before

Window Bookshelf After

TV Bookshelf Before

TV Bookshelf After

What is Your Favorite Piece of Art that You Own?

My favorite piece of art is this giant canvas that I painted in a theater class in college. We were learning about painting scenery. We had to get a painting of a landscape and use a grid system to paint it. I used a picture that I had taken of a sunset over the river near my mother's house. I did this painting mostly in about two hours because I missed class and didn't get to work on it then. I should have done the light sky first and let it dry before painting the blue over it. Oh well. You live and you learn. I probably got like a B- on it or something. The more I look at it the more I like it. Since it is made for the stage it is incredibly durable and I plan to keep it for a long, long time.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My 5 New Habits for January

I've been working on a few new habits for this new year. They aren't resolutions just ways I'm trying to better myself.

1. Bullet Journaling
Mid December I learned about Bullet Journaling. It's a free form sort of day planner. I'm loving it. I'm learning and changing each day what works for me. I use it more for recording my day then planning what I'm going to do next. I write down chores sometimes and I keep my shopping list in it. My job has really slowed down now that Christmas is over. I keep my journal with me at work and I write stuff down as I think of it. I've also been feeling more productive because I am actually looking at my lists and wanting to get things done.

Bullet Journal page and a Sudoku puzzle
My bullet journal and a Sudoku puzzle I did while bored. 
2. Morning Pages in my Bullet Journal
I've been doing morning pages on and off for years. For a long time I did them online through 750words.com, It was tough though, if I forgot to get online, or I was somewhere that I couldn't easily connect to the internet then I didn't do them. I broke my 100 day streak because I went to Anime Detour and there was no wifi.

So now I'm doing them in my bullet journal. I try to do a page every day. I usually write before I go to work. Some days I only get halfway through the page and some days I don't write at all. I'm not pressuring myself about it. I also let myself have as much time as I need. With the online site it was always a race to see how quickly I could finish, because after you submit it will tell you how long it took you to reach 750 words.

I've been using it to work through some of my daily anxieties and worries, as well as using it to talk myself through new projects.

3. Drinking More Water
I have check boxes in my bullet journal for each 20 oz bottle of water I drink. At work I get a break every two hours so this schedule allows me to easily drink enough water for the day. It's when I'm at home and I don't remember to drink enough water. I'm getting better. The checkboxes help.

4. Taking My Vitamins
I'm trying to eat better but I know I'm still not getting the vitamins I need. I have one of those pill boxes with spots for each day of the week. I keep it in my lunch box so I can take them with food on my dinner break at work. This is by far my favorite life hack.

5. Eating Meals at the Table
I've been searching Pinterest for some better dinner recipes. I'm not searching for health, I'm searching for straight up delicious food. My mother doesn't eat meat and is a bland cook. She is a picky eater and her idea of flavor is topping her mashed potatoes with cottage cheese. I'm learning how to use spices and I taught myself to like bell peppers a few years back. So basically I can cook you a potato five different ways but if you hand me a chunk of meat I won't know what to do with it.

Pinterest has come to the rescue and I've been finding some great stuff. If I'm making good meals I want to be able to sit down and enjoy them. So I've implemented dinner time at the table. We usually have dinner on the couch in front of the tv because we don't actually have a real table, just a sad card table. So now we have sit down dinner together on my days off when we can actually eat dinner together.

I'm learning to love cooking and I can tell that Josh is really enjoying eating something other than potatoes.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Why You Shouldn't go on a Diet this Year

I'm not a doctor or a food expert but I am a sort of overweight person who has tried multiple time to make changes to my eating habits. 

Here's the thing, complete restriction of certain items from your diet never works. How many times have you said to yourself "I'm cutting out fast food completely," or "I'm not drinking any more soda." Probably a lot. I have too. I've also promised myself to cut out alcohol, and chocolate and that never worked either. Cutting something out just makes you want it more. 

So love yourself and ease yourself into these changes, it will make you feel like you have more control over yourself and you can still enjoy some of the stuff, because honestly it's good. 

Why you shouldn't go on a diet this year: Bacon Burger and Fries from Five Guys
Bacon Burger and Fries from Five Guys
"Stop Eating Fast Food" - The saltiness of fast food makes you want to eat it all the time. It's cheap, it's quick, and it's so satisfying. Start by getting rid of one item you usually buy when you purchase a meal. Most people probably get a sandwich, a drink, and some fries (the accompanying picture is from Five Guys, it’s so good but also so greasy). Skip the drink, or the fries. Better yet skip both. Wean yourself down to a single item, then try to eat that single item less and less frequently.

"Stop Drinking Pop" - Okay, I'm from Minnesota... Start by cutting out fountain drinks. You're paying way too much for them anyway. Whenever you feel like you want a pop drink a glass of water instead. You're probably just thirsty and that can translate as a craving for a sugary drink. I've proven this to myself many times at work. I can get a can of pop for fifty cents in my break room. Sometimes I'll really, really want it but not have any change. So I'll drink my water like a good girl and bam the cravings are gone. 

On the flip side it can be tough to add in foods that you don't eat very often. It can take 10-15 exposures to a new food to learn to like it. I spent one summer of college putting bell peppers into everything I ate. I learned to love them. Now I just have to do the same thing with tomatoes and I'll be set. My biggest advice is to start adding them in to things you already eat. Bell peppers are great for this. Dice them up and throw them in everything. Another thing is learning how to season vegetables so they actually taste good. Don't just boil them or steam them. Give them some flavor with seasonings or a sauce. Learn to make stir fry, it's a great way to learn to like vegetables (it's how I learned to like bell peppers). 

Or if you aren't ready to cut or add just yet trying shrinking your portion sizes by using smaller dishes or by waiting fifteen minutes before getting seconds. 

Green Peppers, Red Peppers, and Onions
Green Peppers, Red Peppers, and Onions

Saturday, January 2, 2016

I'm Not Making any New Year's Resolutions

I'm not making any resolutions this year. I have some small goals and general life changes that I am going to implement but no hard resolutions. I'm just going to put small things on my to-do list and vow to get them done. I have no year-long plans. Just some small stuff.
I'm not making any resolutions this year.
I'm not making any resolutions this year. 
But I guess if I have to give some of my wide reaching goals I'll summarize them like this;

  • Write More
  • Be Healthier
  • Do More Stuff
Write More: I'm always planning to "write more." It's my resolution at the start of every year. The last couple years I've attached numbers. Write 2 blog posts a week. Write 10 articles this month. This year I'm just going for straight up more. Because I'm currently at almost zero. I'm working really hard to complete my Morning Pages every morning in my Bullet Journal. So far it's going well, but it's only day 2. I'll check in later this month to let everyone know how I'm doing. 

Be Healthier: I'm not doing weight loss, exercise, or diet goals this year. I'm just not. Last year I got a gym membership, I tracked my calories, I changed my birth control and it got me nowhere. I did manage to drop a couple pant sizes by the end of the year but I didn't lose any weight. That was disappointing. 
So this year I'm not even going there. I'm going to focus on making myself feel good, not feel pressured or bad about myself. I'm following a youtube yoga class for the month because I'd like to be more flexible. As for food I'm just trying to find stuff that Josh and I both like that's easy to make. The health factor comes from the fact that I'm actually making it. I'll settle for that at this point in my life. I already use a lot of vegetables when I'm cooking. I'm also trying to keep salad supplies on hand so I have an easy lunch to throw together so I don't have to buy a lunch at work. 
Ranch dressing and some red cabbage ready for the week.
Do More Stuff: This one is truly hard to quantify. I work at Walmart. I don't want to speak to anyone when I am done with work. Sometimes talking to Josh or my roommates can be difficult. But I want to make an effort to get out more and to just do more stuff. I want to start trying out local restaurants and learn some stuff. We've been in Duluth for a year and a half and we still only know a couple good restaurants. I started playing the geo game Ingress and that's been getting me out a little bit. I've already discovered some stuff I never would have found without it. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Clean Slate

I'm starting this new year with a clean slate. I sorted through all of my old blog posts and culled the ones that didn't fit my message. There was a lot of weird stuff in there. It was stuff that made sense at the time but in the big picture it didn't really fit. I'm going to use January to find my blogging voice.

I deleted my old Twitter account and started a new one. I'm looking forward to the genuine followers I get. I'm also trying to be more active on Instagram. There are some really cool people out there.

One of my big goals is to get my craft supplies sorted and organized. I don't even have that much art stuff. I just have a little of everything and so it's all mostly useless unless I buy a bunch more stuff. I have a tiny bit of painting supplies, I have a tiny bit of scrapbooking supplies. I have crayons that I've been carrying around for years and maybe used once. I need to be more realistic about what I'm actually going to accomplish.

I started Bullet Journaling last month and I'm looking forward to using it to it's fullest extent in the coming year. It's already got me writing, reading, working out, and blogging. I started doing my Morning Pages again and I'm going to try to actually complete The Artist's Way Workbook.

Josh and I made a pact that we wouldn't eat any fast food or take out until Valentine's Day, unless we specifically plan a date night. That means no randomly going out just because we don't feel like cooking.

As part of my clean slate prompt I promised myself I would get my desk cleaned off. And I did. It had all of our wedding gift cards laying around on it as well as some fabric from my wedding dress. That was two months ago. So now I can actually use my desk to work out. I'm very proud of myself.

I cleaned my desk off. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

NaNoWriMo and My Writing Anxiety

I started doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) back in 2007. I heard about it from one of my homeschooled friends. I started late and I finished early. I couldn't believe it. That was my senior  year of high school. I also completed my manuscript in 2008 my first year of college. I haven't been successful since. I think it's because I became an English major. Writing stopped being a hobby and became homework instead. It became something that was required of me instead of something I did for fun.

I began writing at age 14 as a way to escape my real life. My mother and my step-dad both have mental illnesses. Growing up was rough. I was the oldest and I was expected to take care of things when they couldn't. I felt like I had no one to talk to who would understand what I was going through. I immersed myself in this fantasy world with a timeline of 15 years and contained nearly 50 characters. It was my secret and I didn't tell anybody about it. They knew I wrote a lot but nobody knew what it was. I hoped that if I believed in it hard enough I could stop existing in this world and start existing in that one.

I was incredibly insecure. It wasn't even really because of anything anybody said. My parents and teachers praised me for being so smart. My friends seemed to think I was reasonably funny. I didn't believe them. I felt inadequate.

Then once I started dating Josh things got better. He was nice to me, he complimented me, he actually thought I was smart and pretty even though I was sure that I wasn't. Then I got scared to write. I felt like there was a link between my unhappiness and my writing. I was scared that if I started writing my unhappiness and my anxiety would come back.

I forced myself through my writing classes. I only produced a few pieces I was actually proud of. Now I'm 25. I'm married and I'm the happiest I've ever been. But trying to write my NaNo is painful. I have all of these "bad" habits when I write. I don't know how to get back in the groove.

So I've been sitting in my dark bedroom listening to my music that makes me want to cry and playing solitaire until my eyes feel like they're going to fall out. I didn't have the internet on my computer in high school. I had microsoft word and solitaire. The words are coming though. So I guess that's good. I just hoped I had moved beyond these habits but I guess not.

I'm scared to write in public or where other people could potentially read over my shoulder. These words are my safety net to protect me when the world falls apart. But I have Josh now and my world shouldn't fall apart anymore.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I finally made it to Enger Tower

My friends were in town for my wedding and in an attempt to take them sight seeing we went up to Enger Tower. I've lived here for over a year now and I hadn't made it up there. I can't believe it took me so long. It's practically a straight shot from my house, of course it's basically across town but it's not as hard to get there as I thought it was.

It's gorgeous up there this time of year. I definitely need to go back up. It was beautiful this past weekend and I'm glad I went. Also this picture turned out pretty amazing.
View of the lift bridge from Enger Tower.